When it comes to keeping your loved ones (and your home) safe, there’s no limit to what most people will do. Electrical fires are definitely a concern in our times, accounting for thousands of deaths annually, as well as billions of dollars in damage to residential structures. According to the National Fire Protection Association, or nfpa.org, sixty-percent of deaths were a result of electrical malfunctions that occurred between midnight and 8 A.M., times when people are usually asleep. Want another staggering statistic? According to the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission, approximately 31,000 home electrical fires occur annually, with 180 of those cases involving electrocution or electricity-related incidents that could have been avoided. All of these facts and figures only go to further show the importance of keeping electrical safety as a top priority in your home. In order to protect yourself, your loved ones, and your home, you need to brush up on six necessary electrical safety tips—we guarantee that you’ll be so glad you did. You’ll sleep more soundly and with a sense of peace of mind knowing that you did your part in researching ways to stay safe and secure.

Here is a home electrical safety checklist from Now Power Texas:

  1. Check Power Strips and Cords—Be sure not to use any power cords, strips, or wires that may be faulty.
    • It is also best not to overload power strips with too many devices being plugged into them. In fact, power strips should feel cool to the touch when you place your hand on them. If it feels warm or hot, you need to unplug the devices and spread them out more in order to prevent possible problems. Replace or repair any cords that appear to be damaged or broken, or have visible wires.
    • Avoid extension cords whenever possible. Although convenient for being able to extend distances at which devices are plugged in, they can cause trip hazards, potentially damaging the cord and/or device (not to mention injuring yourself!) Small children, pets, or pests/rodents can also be tempted to pull, damage, or even chew on these cords, presenting an electrocution risk.
  2. Keep electrical cords and outlets away from water sources. This can be challenging in the bathroom, where it’s common to plug in devices like hair dryers, flat irons, and more, but it’s wise to keep them away from sinks, bathtubs/showers and toilets—you never know what could occur to have a plugged-in device fall or be dropped into water, causing possible electrocution and an electrical fire.
  3. Unplug what is unused. Yet another smart tip is to keep items unplugged when they are not being used.
    • This cuts down on risking electrocution, electrical fires or malfunctions, and even reduces your energy usage, which, naturally, will lower your monthly electric bill. It’s a win-win situation all the way around!
    • Switching off lights when you leave a room is another way to ease the load on lights and lessen the risk of overheating.
  4. Don’t “Short” Yourself with Faulty Appliances—it is imperative to make sure you or your loved ones are not using appliances (like lamps, for example) with shorts in them. If they flicker, make strange sounds or have a distinct smell—like that of something burning, do not use them until they are professionally repaired, or simply get rid of them and replace them with newer, safer models.
    • Light fixtures, cords, plugs, and transformers also need to be checked out if they are shorting.
    • If you’re concerned about a certain area or device in your home, your best bet is to discontinue use and consult a professional electrician for assistance.
  5. Use Proper Wattage—when it comes to appliances and lights/lamps/lighting fixtures, those wattage requirements are actually very important. Using improper wattage can result in an electrical fire, too.
    • Have a lamp or light fixture without a recommended wattage listed? Use 60-watt bulbs or less in order to be as safe as possible.
    • For ceiling fixtures that appear not to have a recommended bulb wattage listed, your safest choice will be to use 25-watt bulbs.
    • It may seem like a pain or inconvenience to check these appliances or fixtures, but the risks are definitely far too great to not take them into consideration. You’ll be more than relieved you checked on this issue when you find something that has the improper bulb-wattage in place, and you realize that you have potentially prevented a tragedy or accident in the future.
    • LED bulbs are energy-efficient, which means they use less energy and, therefore, pose less of a risk for overheating and leading to disaster. Additionally, LED bulbs that use less energy means extra savings for you on your monthly electric bill. What’s not to love about that?!
  6. Monitor Your Usage with No-Deposit Electricity—Not only is utilizing prepaid electricity a smart option for Texas residents who live in deregulated areas (meaning that you can choose your electricity provider instead of being forced to use one company’s services), it can also be life-saving!
    • Tracking your usage habits in real-time can alert you to any unusual activity that may signify a potential electrical problem. You can even have the data sent to your smartphone—talk about convenient! When you use a company like Now Power, the control is in your hands.
    • Their Smart Balance plan can save you 3¢ per kWh by simply maintaining a $30 balance in your account, potentially saving you $360 annually! Now Power’s Smart Balance 30 is a variable rate, prepaid electricity solution for responsible customers looking to cut costs on their electric bills. They also offer no security deposit, no termination fees, and no long-term contracts. Check out https://nowpowertexas.com/ to see what packages are offered in your particular area.